Accra , Aug 30, GNA - The following is the full text of the speech of Former President Jerry John Rawlings, who is also the founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) at the party's Special Delegates' Conference in Kumasi on Thursday.
The speech of the former president was circulated by his office.
"Mr. Chairman, Mr. President and the Vice President, Nananom, members of the Council of State, members of the Diplomatic Corps, members of the security agencies, delegates, party members and supporters, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:
"I would like you to join me in congratulating our new President for responding to an urgent request I made to him to use his authority to help provide street lights to a few villages where a spate of killings - which have increased drastically over the past year - have been taking place with well anticipated impunity.
"I had tried over the past year or more to draw the attention of some personalities and state institutions to the brutal killings, especially of women. I almost got the impression that some authorities did not want the re-emergence of these killings to be made public for reasons best known to themselves. Some of the opposition media however exposed it.
"While I am grateful to the President for his intervention, it is important that the lukewarm attitude of some of these authorities is investigated.
"There is nothing more disheartening than poor villages being forced to stay indoors from 7pm because of the threat of kidnap and murder.
"President John Mahama, today is your first hurdle towards being an elected President. Electoral victory will depend on a number of things - how quickly you can restore integrity to the Presidency, your government and to the party.
"Mr. President, fellow Ghanaians it is said that we should not throw out the baby with the bath water, but what do we do when some of the babies in the tub are babies with teeth, biting and spewing invectives? Should they not be lowered out with the dirty water so we can concentrate on the good ones? After all one bad nut is all it takes to spoil the taste in your mouth.
"When we find ourselves at a wooden bridge with some planks rotten, do we wait to get new planks before removing the rotten ones or do we remove the rotten ones immediately to prevent the potential loss of limbs and lives?
"Fellow countrymen and women, the uncivilized tendency of poking thoughtlessly people who have sacrificed for both party and country, and later attempting to embrace them for political expediency, must stop. Let us begin to show civility towards each other, in the hope that it is not too late. How much credibility can be restored between now and the elections?
"Mr President, those who have been sitting in the comfort of their homes both home and abroad waiting for others to win the elections for them, better wake up and hit the campaign trail.
"The NDC as a party is composed of diverse political persuasions, groups and interests. It is therefore crucial that all these interests and their contributions to the continuous survival of the NDC are recognized, carefully weighed and harmonized at all times.
"It is in the NDC's interest to re-engage and remain focused on its core values, ideals and traditions of truth, honesty, integrity and justice. These are the cherished ingredients that have sustained the party over the past two decades.
"Fellow countrymen and women, Ghana is a country many were proud to die for. Can we say so under the prevailing political climate? These are defining moments for the party and as we find ourselves at a crossroads let us use this gathering to get back to the noble principles and values that have always distinguished us from other political traditions.
"It is crucial for us to reaffirm the party's values and commitments, to hold them up against hard reality and to truly assess what legacy we are bestowing to the next generations.
"Thank you and God Bless."